Initial unemployment claims in South Carolina continued to climb in 2022, with 3,985 first-time claims reported for the week ending Jan. 8.
That represents an increase of 403 claims from the previous week and is the highest total since the week ending April 17, 2021, according to S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce data.
Initial claims for the week ending Jan. 1 increased by more than 2,400 from the previous week to 3,582. DEW economist Erica Von Nessen told the Columbia Regional Business Report that noticeable increases in claims typically happen each year in the weeks after Christmas, when temporary seasonal jobs end and when manufacturing and other sectors experience a round of temporary layoffs as facilities are shut down for cleaning and reorganization.
Many of those workers are likely to go back to work soon, she said.
“In recent years we’ve seen claims more than double right after the holidays,” Von Nessen said. “It can seem alarming when you see it, but it usually doesn’t mean anything long-term.”
Von Nessen expected to see increases for the next two or three weeks before initial claims level off.
“If they don’t come down by the end of the month, then there will be legitimate cause for some concern, and that will mean something else is going on,” she said.
Nationally, initial unemployment claims rose to 230,000 for the week ending Jan. 8, up 23,000 from the previous week.
In South Carolina, Spartanburg County saw a state-high 499 initial claims filed, while Anderson County had 448. Greenville County reported 388, Horry County 196 and Richland County 186.
Since March 15, 2020, 951,107 initial claims have been filed in S.C., with $6.59 billion paid out in a cominbation of state and federal unemployment benefits.